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Explosion in Alleged IS-KP Safe House Kills and Injures Two People 

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Local sources in the northern Balkh province reported an explosion in a residential house in Dehdadi district on Tuesday, April 2, which killed at least one person and injured another.

Sources told KabulNow that the incident took place on Tuesday evening in Hamdard village near the capital city of Mazar-e-Sharif. According to the sources, three individuals who sustained minor injuries managed to escape the area.

Meanwhile, Taliban authorities claim that the explosion occurred while members of the Islamic State, IS-KP, were assembling an explosive device inside the house.

In a statement, the Taliban security command in the province said that both the deceased and injured individuals were affiliated with IS-KP and were residents of Kashanda district in Balkh province.

The Taliban security command in Balkh reports on IS-KP activities in the province, while Taliban leaders claim to have brought the terrorist group’s insurgency under control and to have almost eradicated it. 

Following the withdrawal of US troops and the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the terrorist group known as Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-KP) has used the country to emerge as the most capable branch of the ISIS terror organization.

Since then, IS-KP has perpetrated numerous deadly attacks, primarily targeting the Hazara-Shia ethnic group and Taliban members in the country.

Last month, IS-KP claimed responsibility for an explosion in southern Kandahar province that resulted in the deaths of dozens of Taliban members. The group claimed that the attack had killed around 150 Taliban members.

In January, the terrorist group targeted a civilian minibus in the western neighborhood of Kabul, Dasht-e-Barchi, predominantly inhabited by the Hazara ethnic group, resulting in the deaths and injuries of dozens of people.

It has also targeted and killed high-ranking Taliban members in the past two years, including the regime’s governor for northern Balkh province and its governor for northeastern Badakhshan province.

In a report last month, the member states of the UN Security Council highlighted that terrorist groups in Afghanistan enjoy greater freedom than ever before in recent history. The report also claimed that there are no recent indications that the Kabul regime has taken measures to restrict the activities of these terrorist groups within the country.

Following IS-KP’s attack in Moscow last month, which claimed the lives of over 130 people and left more than 100 others injured, concerns have arisen among regional countries and the international community regarding its capabilities and intentions to target other locations in Europe and potentially even the US.

Earlier, the former commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Frank McKenzie, warned that IS-KP possesses a strong desire to attack the US and its allies around the world. He cautioned that such an attack is “inevitable.”

The former top US general noted that the capabilities of the Islamic State branch in Afghanistan began growing following the US withdrawal. To counter that threat effectively, he said maintaining a small troop presence in Afghanistan was necessary. 

“If you can keep pressure on them … in their homeland and their base, it makes it hard for them to conduct these types of attacks,” he said. “Unfortunately, we no longer place that pressure on them, so they’re free to gain strength, they’re free to plan, they’re free to coordinate,” he added.

In the meantime, Fitton Brown, the former coordinator of UN sanctions and threat assessment, told CNN that IS-KP is increasingly focusing its attention on Europe, highlighting events such as this year’s Paris Olympics as potential targets.

“ISIS-K has ambitions far beyond south Asia, aiming to target Russia, western Europe and even the United States,” he said. “I hope I’m wrong, but I’m very worried about the Paris Olympics,” he added.